There has been a surge in homelessness among refugees and asylum seekers in Athens, Greece due to the recent evictions by both the Greek government and the UNHCR. It is estimated the Greek government aims to evict 8,000 recognised refugees from camps and accommodations across the country – with little to no plan on how to provide housing once they are evicted.
A grant from a donor in New Zealand went directly to a community based organisation in Athens called Finding Refuge that provides housing and emergency and long-term support to refugees and asylum seekers. The direct grant went to operating costs of Duniya House . With the funds they were able to welcome in an asylum seeker from Syria who was 9 months pregnant, and just hours after arriving at the house was transported to the hospital, returning to a furnished room for her new baby. The night before she was sleeping in a tent in the park. Visit their website for more incredible stories.
Hundreds of thousands of migrants are dependent on crossing over into Thailand for a day wage to buy food. The borders are now shut and the factories are closed, which leaves them without any ability to make any wages—which means widespread risk of starvation in makeshift camps.
And there are spinoff crises. New mothers aren’t getting enough food to make breast milk, so newborns are now dying in Rakhine state. And even though there are foraging opportunities outside of the camps, these lands are filled with landmines. Because people don’t want to go hungry, they are now choosing a family member to go forage. This means these people are risking body obliteration from landmines, just to eat.
We are also hearing about parents getting approached by child trafficking brokers who are offering the families a better life for a price. Child trafficking is on the rise.
These unforeseen scenarios is why we do flexible funding, so grants are not earmarked for a certain purpose. With both COVID and loss of livelihood, these coexisting crises bring up day-to-day issues for communities that just cannot be predicted or even brainstormed in a Western concept.
For the food security issues in particular, we are working with other funders to help bolster our emergency COVID grants, so they can take over food security granting more long-term.
ASOGEN, our partner in Guatemala who addresses the needs of women experiencing domestic violence, is tackling double the caseload during COVID. Their caseload has doubled but the staff has not. They are working around the clock to find ways to keep women safe.
We have offered ASOGEN an emergency COVID grant to be used in any way they see fit. The director recently said to us “This type of funding from Move92 is so helpful because we can move it around as needed, and we have to move it around a lot!”. COVID has made certain costs very high, and difficult to fund, such as transportation. Busses aren’t running and women need to get to the shelter, and to the courts. Our flexible grant enables them to pay for things other donors may not in this heightened time of crisis for women experiencing domestic violence.